ENGL 392
Acción Poética: Poetic Art's Critiques of an Americas of Conquest Spring 2022
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
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Class Details

Can poems be thought of as social acts, or as a kind of “acción poética” (poetic action)? What would it mean, in other words, to resituate our understanding of poetry within the realms of speech act theory, performance studies, and the local and global histories of social conflict in the Americas? In this course, we will examine the long history of poetic form in the Americas to trace the emergence of separate, but related poetic experimentalisms, particularly in the literary traditions of modern Latin American and U.S.-Latinx poetry and performance art. Throughout the course, we’ll ask what it means to write with and without the body in mind. We’ll attend to the embodied forms of poetic expression that emerge prior to the twentieth century while investigating poetry’s articulations of geo-social space in the Americas. Our course will then focus on the vanguard poetries of twentieth-century Latin America (Neruda, Mistral, Vallejo, Zurita, et al.) and on the transcultural modernities of U.S.-Latinx poetry and performance. Through our explorations of poetic form’s encounters with a social history of the Americas, we’ll receive a glimpse of what poetry looks like in a world of spiritual, political, ecological, and humanitarian crises. Readings will likely include works by: Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, Vicente Huidobro, César Vallejo, Raúl Zurita, Cecilia Vicuña, Miguel Algarín, Sandra María Esteves, Willie Perdomo, Julia de Burgos, Emmy Pérez, Gloria Anzaldúa, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Sandra Cisneros, Francisco X. Alarcón, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Coco Fusco, Laura Aguilar, Asco, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Phillis Wheatley, José Martí, Rubén Darío, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and more. Although useful, reading knowledge of Spanish is not expected or required; Spanish-language texts will be provided in English translation alongside the original.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 3871
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Active participation in in-class and online discussion, two close-reading papers (5 pages each), contributions to course blog, and a final 8-10 page research paper.
Prerequisites: A 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam, or permission of the instructor.
Enrollment Preferences: English majors, but non-majors with a strong interest in the subject are welcome.
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course offers students the opportunity to think critically about the experiences of socially marginalized groups throughout U.S. and Latin American history. The course emphasizes the experiences of colonization and U.S. imperialism in Latin America and those of social conflict in border regions throughout the U.S. Moreover, it invites students to ask what it means to write poetry from the standpoint of various subject positions (as determined by race, class, gender/sexuality, etc.).
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories C
LATS Countries of Origin + Transnationalism Elect

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